The repetitive slog of pre-season training can be a grind for many rugby league players.
For others, the chance to train full-time with an NRL squad is a dream come true.
In 2020, four young Titans are living that dream after earning Development Player contracts, giving them the opportunity to spend the summer training with the Titans’ senior squad under Head Coach Justin Holbrook.
Juwan Compain, Kea Pere, Ioane Seiuli and Toby Sexton are the Titans’ Development Players for 2020, taking the next steps on their journey to become long-term Titans of the future.
While they are not eligible to play NRL until after the June 30 deadline next season, the chance to train and spend time around the elite squad is an important part of the development pathway that will ultimately turn them from training buddies into Titans teammates.
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Outside back Kea Pere has started his second year as a Development Player, and while he is in the rehab group at present due to injury, he is thankful he has experience to bank on when he turns up for training each day.
“Last year was tough not knowing what to expect,” Pere said. “But now I have a heads-up, it makes it a lot easier.
“It sucks to be in the rehab group, but it’s more a mental game.
“I’m just trying to work hard to get back onto the field with the boys.”
Seiuli unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury playing for Tweed in the Intrust Super Cup finals, and after having surgery, the 19-year-old has a different pre-season plan to many.
“It’s just about getting my shoulder right,” Seiuli said.
“I need to get the strength back in there and then the mobility.
“I need to keep my fitness up as well. I need to keep on top of every aspect.”
Compain had a memorable season in 2019 as part of the Tweed Seagulls Under-18 team that won the Mal Meninga Cup state championship and the national title against Illawarra, leading to his selection in the Queensland Under-18 team.
But the chance to train alongside the established first graders at the Titans has been another level again.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “They’re a great bunch of boys and great leaders.
“In just a short amount of time, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m looking forward to the rest of the pre-season.”
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Palm Beach Currumbin product Sexton hasn’t had time to celebrate finishing high school, with the 18-year-old finishing his final exams and then fronting up to training the following week.
Not that the Australian Schoolboys star would have it any other way.
“I still have to pinch myself every day,” he said. “I’m loving every opportunity that I get.
“I was a bit sore the first few days, but I think I’m getting more used to it now.
“I’m slowly getting there. I’m here for a long time, so it’s just a matter of getting used to it.”